Blended families are families that have children from two or more different relationships. This type of family can be found in all types of households, from single-parent homes to those where either a mom or a dad has decided to remarry. Blended families come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they can provide all the family members with a wealth of experience and opportunities.
To avoid any disputes, blended family estate planning is a growing trend in North Carolina. This type of estate planning involves the creation of a will and other legal documents that will govern the distribution of property when a family member dies, whether they are members of the same genetic bloodline or not. This can be a complicated process, but it can help to ensure that everyone in the family is taken care of, regardless of their relationship with the deceased.
For assistance with estate planning in North Carolina, the Raleigh estate planning attorneys at Wilson Ratledge can help.
Estate Planning Considerations for Blended Families
As we mentioned earlier, blended family estate planning is sometimes a little tricky. For example, occasionally, one spouse may have more wealth or financial assets than the other. In addition, many people prefer to create an estate plan that:
a. protects their assets while still allowing them access to the estate plan during their lifetime
b. provides the least tax liability for them as well as for their loved ones
c. helps their loved ones avoid probate.
Apart from these, there are several important factors to consider when creating a blended family estate plan, such as
a. Who makes decisions about major assets, such as real estate and stocks?
b. Who inherits money or property if someone dies prematurely?
c. What happens to the youngest members of the family if they are not of age at the time of one’s passing?
d. Who takes care of the pets?
e. How will disputes between family members be resolved?
Another common estate planning consideration for blended families includes making provisions for guardianship or conservatorship should one spouse become incapacitated.
As such, blended family planning needs to be properly thought out as it often has to include using a combination of wills, trusts, and other legal documents to divide property and assets between spouses, children, and grandchildren in a way that suits the needs of all involved.
Tips for Creating a Blended Family Estate Plan
As the number of blended families continues to grow, so do estate planning considerations for these families. Here are some tips to help you create a plan that will work best for you and your loved ones.
1. Create a written estate plan with your attorney. This will include details about who will inherit what property, assets, and debts, as well as any special instructions about how money should be distributed if you die suddenly or due to old age.
2. Don’t be vague. Establish clear boundaries in your estate planning documents about who will have authority over different aspects of the estate. This will help avoid any conflict or confusion over who is responsible for what during difficult times.
3. Make sure all of your legal documents (such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney) are updated and in order. These documents can provide guidance on who will inherit what property if you die. It should specify how your property should be divided.
4. You may consider discussing estate planning with your spouse or significant other so that everyone is aware of your wishes for the future.
5. If you have young kids that you would like to include in your estate plan, create a timeline for major decisions, including who will inherit what and when payments should be made. This will help make sure everything happens as you wish and without drama.
6. Consider making provisions for conservatorship and guardianship in the event that you become mentally or physically incapable of making decisions.
7. Be sure to include your pets in your estate plan so that they may be taken care of properly after you are gone.
Speak to a Skilled Estate Planning Attorney
In conclusion, a blended family estate planning strategy is a great way to make sure that everyone in your family is taken care of financially. By working together with a qualified estate planning attorney, you can create a plan that meets your unique needs and ensures that everyone in your family is comfortable and secure.
If you are a member of a blended family and you want to create an estate plan, contact a North Carolina estate planning lawyer at Wilson Ratledge Law Firm. We can help you create a plan that is tailored specifically to your unique situation. We will work with you to create a plan that meets your needs and protects your loved ones.